Will technology terminate your job? Save your career with new skills and a second language

Technology, education, training, language, skillHundreds, perhaps thousands of kinds jobs have been eliminated by advancing technology and changing times. This will continue into the future and forever. Will yours be one of the jobs to be eliminated in the near future? If so, what are you doing now, or will do in the future, to prepare yourself for a changing career landscape?

To illustrate, here are but a few of the jobs that are already gone or have changed dramatically in recent years:

  • Almost anything to do with typewriters and paper
  • Radio and newspaper reporters
  • Video (store employees and owners, videographers, distributors, manufacturers, movie studios)
  • Cashiers and bank tellers
  • Call center staffs
  • Receptionists, secretaries and administrative professionals
  • Draftsmen, “desktop publishers” and typesetters
  • Postal employees
  • Travel agents
  • Fighter pilots

We can all add names to this list. Even top executives and corporate or organizational leaders face uncertainty, as companies buy and sell each other, sacrificing one CEO’s or president’s position for efficiency’s sake as there is almost never a need for two. So what are we supposed to do as we move through our careers trying to make a good living for ourselves and our families?

Ongoing education, new language skills are essential

One thing is certain. The last class we attended, whether it was in trade school or for our doctorate, should not be the final. We must all continue to learn to keep up with the demands of society. In the United States, we need to take this very seriously as the rest of the world is ahead of us in the important subjects, such as math, science and technology, writing and reading. This is true with our students of all ages, including adults.

Can Americans keep up? Absolutely. But, we will need to refocus on the important subjects within our own professions. I know we can learn new things. Take fantasy sports, for example, which js a serious, multi-million dollar business. We are likely the global leader of the fantasy sports industry, especially football. But what if one day, out of nowhere, the rabid sports fans of some foreign geopolitical power came along and began to beat us at our own game. Would we take it? Certainly, we’d work harder to draft better players, make smarter trades, and reclaim our championship position. At least I’d like to think we would. We have yet to reclaim the world’s lead in science and engineering…

The passion many of us have for fantasy sports is exact kind of fervor we need to face global competition for future jobs. What if we were told we could only compete in fantasy sports in another language, like Hindi, Japanese or Mandarin? Would we stop playing? Again, I’d like to think we’d pick up a second or third language. Think of all the computer programmers in the world that learned English so that they could code. Most all PC code is English, yet there are millions of programmers all over the world. For them, learning English was a matter of career survival.

So let’s master those languages now. (Especially Spanish! After all, approximately 40 million people in the United States speak Spanish today, and that number is projected to grow.) Also, we must recognize the urgency to first “get equal” with the rest of the world and then reclaim the passion to “get ahead.”

The jobs of the future will be occupied by those with the best educations and command of the most relevant languages. Make technology a mark of empowerment, not a measure of excuse. 

Who will be cut in your company’s next layoff?

Being downsized is frustrating for anyone at any ageA 2012 Gallup study says that 70 percent of American workers are not reaching their full potential causing the U.S. to lose $450 to $550 billion (with a “b”) each year in lost productivity.

If you are in the 70 percent, you are working for a company not reaching its profit potential. This company will very likely look at downsizing or layoffs to lower expenses and therefore enhance profit. And when this happens, they will look at the 70 percent of their workers who are not reaching their full potential to cut.

So what can you do about this to enhance your position and move into the top 30 percent?  Here are a few steps to follow that will help you stand out in a positive way:

  • Understand your strengths and/or talents. If you need to, get professional input to be sure you know exactly what they are. Talk to your boss about them to be sure he/she knows.
  • Work with your boss so that he/she knows your strengths and/or talents and gives you responsibilities that allows you to do your best work.
  • Continue to learn more about your company and what it is trying to accomplish so you can add your part.
  • Also, continue to learn more about your job and your strengths and talents so you can do even better work.
  • Network well within your profession to enable yourself to be aware of the latest thinking and technology in your field.
  • Keep yourself in good physical shape for you to maximize the potential to have the energy to do your best.
  • Support what your company is trying to do at all times, be committed to its goals and communicate them to others.
  • Commit yourself to an unrelenting quest to make yourself better at what you do.

If you do these things you make yourself better at what you do and therefore better at contributing to the company’s success. And, you will own yourself and your future.

But if you are stuck, or your immediate boss does not want to help, or sees you as a threat, keep on doing the things that will make you better anyway. This may not guard you from being downsized or laid off, but it does guarantee you will be better at what you do for your next position whether at your current company, another one, or your own.

Note: The Gallup study is entitled “State of The American WorkPlace; Employee Engagement Insights For U.S. Business Leaders.”

Helping mid-career executives find their way

Helping business people on the right pathSince I retired from my business in 2012, I have been looking for a way to share the many lessons I learned that will help someone else.

Well folks, after a lot of looking, I believe I have found a way! I want to help executives who, in mid-career, have been downsized or laid off. I feel very passionate about this because I was downsized four times in my career and the fifth time was looming when I took control of my future and started my business, John Bailey & Associates Public Relations, at age 57.

I realized this new passion while speaking to the Fall 2013 graduating class of the Michigan Shifting Gears program. Many of the approximately 40 mid-career executives had been laid off or downsized; some were still working but all entered the 8-week program seeking to redirect or refocus their career. Shifting Gears gave them that and more.

Here is what I want people to know: Continue reading

Who’s the worst boss you ever had?

Boss from Hell

We’ve all had tough bosses. Ones that gave us lots of crap, or never seemed happy with our performance. Over my career, I had a multitude of bosses, but it wasn’t until I realized that I was my own boss that I determined they all benefitted me. They even made me a better professional and person.

It was the realization that I and I only was the determiner of my future that I saw those bosses in a different perspective. I even cherished the times they ripped into me, especially in the early learning years of my career. Why, you say? Because I learned from each of them to see things their way, not necessarily mine. This gave me an understanding of different thinking.

A lot of time they were correct. But most importantly, I learned that they were not the important ones to building a complete career, but rather I was. Only me. Continue reading

Corp! magazine reviews “The Power of Ownership”

Corp! Magazine online cover story, October 2013

Corp! Magazine online cover story, October 2013

Happy Monday! If you’re looking for a late lunch or brief afternoon read, Corp! magazine reviewed my book as one of its October online cover stories:

Those who know John Bailey may recall his eventual ownership of an eponymous public relations agency or perhaps they worked with him in one or more of his career milestones. Continue reading